July 10 2019  |  Connectivity & Satellites

Satellite launches to close connectivity hole for Emirates

By Rick Lundstrom

Up to one million passengers per month access Wi-Fi on Emirates, the airline reports

Emirates’ is keen to get the word out that passengers bound for the United States will be able to access Wi-Fi, mobile service connectivity and Live TV broadcast on routes over the North Pole and Arctic Circle with the launch of two elliptical orbit satellites by partner Inmarsat in 2022.

Emirates flights to the U.S., which often travel over the polar region, can lose connectivity for up to four hours. Most satellites that connect aircraft are geostationary, located over the equator, and aircraft antennae cannot see the satellite when in the far north, due to the earth’s curvature.

The new satellites will also provide Live TV broadcast on Emirates flights allowing passengers to watch live news or sports over the polar region. Emirates’ Live TV is currently available on 175 aircraft including all 777 and select A380s. More than one million Wi-Fi connections are made onboard the airline’s flights in an average month.

“Inmarsat has an extremely successful track record of working with Emirates to ensure their inflight connectivity requirements are met on a global basis, both in the cockpit and the cabin,” said Philip Balaam, Inmarsat Aviation President. “We are delighted to continue that tradition with the rapid development of our Global Xpress (GX) satellite network. In the past month alone, we have announced even more capacity being added to the network with five additional payloads, including these latest two for flights over the northern latitudes and Arctic region. This is a great fit for Emirates and once again they have played an important role in our decision for these latest expansions.”

Wi-Fi connectivity is available on all Emirates aircraft. Passengers in all cabin classes receive 20MB of free Wi-Fi data or unlimited use of messaging apps for 2 hours allowing them to log on and stay in touch with friends, family or colleagues. Emirates Skywards members enjoy special benefits depending on their membership tier and class of travel, including free Wi-Fi when traveling in First Class or Business Class.

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